Disabled access at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
Last week saw Euan’s Guide team up with charity Whizz Kidz to test out the accessibility at some of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games venues. Our motley crew consisted of Whizz Kidz Ambassadors Adam, Arthur, Josh and Natalie as well as Euan and some of our seasoned Euan's Guide reviewers Gary, Keith, Paul and Ryan. We were also joined by James and Laura - our BBC film crew who were accompanying us throughout the day.
The idea of the day sprung from discussions we had around the Games and how accessible the venues were going to be. We wanted to have information available on Euan’s Guide which was helpful to disabled visitors and their families and friends in advance of the Games starting which would help plan a visit. The venues that we visited will all be transformed during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and where possible the adaptations were described to us. We also wanted to provide this information to encourage disabled people to visit and use the facilities after the Games.
The day started at the Emirates Arena where we all met and had our first interviews of the day. After a short briefing we were off - first stop the Emirates Arena itself. During the Games, the arena will host the badminton but when we visited, the arena was set up for athletics and there were some athletes practising on the track and with the pole vault. The most surprising thing here was the floor - the track itself is a hydraulic floor that can be raised and lowered depending on what is going on.
Read what some of our reviewers thought of accessibility, accessible seating and more at the Emirates Arena
We then popped across tothe adjoining Sir Chris Hoy velodrome, obviously named after the great man himself! Many of us had not visited a velodrome before & were surprised at how steep the sides were - no wonder that our offer to test the velodrome with our powerchairs was considered a little too risky and politely declined!
It was then on to the bus as we headed over to Tollcross, the venue for all the swimming events. At Tollcross we were taken pool side and given an in depth explanation of what the changes will be for Games time - including the addition of 2000 seats at one end of the pool. The thing that really blew our minds was when the conversation turned to ‘pool pods’, state of the art devices that are going to be installed in time for the Games. These ‘pool pods' will allow disabled people to enter & exit the pool safely by themselves with no need for a carer and will be a fabulous part of the Commonwealth Games's legacy. Before leaving we then checked out the wet room - which we were advised was the biggest in Glasgow (and surely in many other places too!).
Find out more about the accessibility at Tollcross International Swimming Centre
We then boarded the buses to our final destination, The SSE Hydro (by this time the Whizz Kidz bus had been dubbed the party bus & was apparently much more exciting than the more staid Euans Guide bus!). On arrival at the Hydro we were first of all shown to the main accessible seating area before being shown to the venue floor where we could gaze skywards to the seating above!
Want to know more about the accessibility of the SSE Hydro? Read what our reviewers had to say
And then, tired but happy, it was time to head home! At the time of writing, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games start in 70 days… We can’t wait!
Euan said ‘As a keen sports fan I really enjoyed seeing the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games venues first hand. I’m really pleased that the disabled access reviews of the venues on EuansGuide.com will allow disabled people and their families and friends to plan their visits to the venues with confidence, both during the Games and afterwards. Thanks to the Euan’s Guide reviewers and the Whizz Kidz Ambassadors for helping this become a reality.’
A massive thank you to everyone who made the day possible including:
Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
Venue Managers and Games Venue Managers of The Emirates Arena, Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Tollcross International Swimming Centre and the SSE Hydro
Whizz Kidz Ambassadors - Adam, Arthur, Josh & Natalie plus Fiona, Rob & Katie from HQ
Paul, Gary, Keith and Ryan - Euan’s Guide Reviewers Extraordinaire
Access Travel Scotland - our transport for the day!
BBC - James & Laura
And Tom from Able Magazine too!
Here's the BBC Reporting Scotland feature from the day: